City Councilors Annissa Essaibi-George (at large) and Frank Baker (Dorchester) say that with opioid deaths continuing to rise, it's time to look at possibly setting up a place where addicts could inject themselves while under the supervision of healthcare workers who could administer emergency aid.
In a request filed today, the two are asking their fellow councilors to let them hold a hearing on a possible "safe injection site" in Boston. Boston Medical Center already has a room where addicts can go after they've shot up on the street.
In their request, the two admitted to mixed feelings:
A study of the Safe Injection Site in Vancouver, Canada demonstrated a 35% reduction in opioid related overdose deaths and a significant increase in access to drug treatment. However, impacts of Safe Injections Sites on host communities have been mixed. ... Safe Injection Sites are controversial and wrought with medical, ethical and legal
questions for communities. Furthermore, the Boston City Council has a responsibility to promote thoughtful conversation that represents all perspectives while working to promote the safety and wellbeing of all
But with opioid deaths up and Boston having collected 20,000 discarded needles from streets, parks and playgrounds since March, 2015, the city may need to do more than it has so far, they write. They note that the Massachusetts Medical Society recently urged the state to set up at least two pilot safe-injection sites.
The council will consider the request at its Wednesday meeting, which begins at noon in its fifth-floor chambers in City Hall. Typically, councilors make only brief comments before the measure is sent to a council committee, which then holds a public hearing.